Decisions vs Conversions

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Berean, May 1, 2011.

  1. Berean

    Berean
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    Over the past several years much has been said and written about the number of evagelical youth leaving the Church upon going away to school or work. The number expressed in percentages is around 85%. This may vary a few pp either way, the last poll I saw was Barna and it was 85.
    For several weeks now my pastor has been preaching on decisions vs conversions. To quote him; "our youth make a decision, attend church services 3 or 4 times a week, go to the inner cities and pass out tracts, take youth choir trip on spring break and take up canned food for the homeless. Yet when they get to college and sit under a couple of liberal professors for a semester or two they come home with great discovery that Jesus Christ is not the only way"
    My question is. Has our zeal for numbers clouded or minds as to what real conversions are. People can talk someone into making a decision but only the Holy Spirit can cause repentance that leads to salvation.
     
  2. Old Union Brother

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    YES!!!
    You have absolutely hit the proverbial nail on the head!
     
  3. annsni

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    This is absolutely a problem. I think the "pray this prayer and you'll be saved" is so deceiving because it's not dealing with the heart issue at all. It's not a prayer that saves but a heart that is changed towards the Lord.

    I was also recently thinking of this "soul winning" idea. I saw someone talk about "we won 20 souls this weekend" and it so bothered me to my core. Umm - sorry, you did NOT win anything. You tell them that they don't need to do anything other than say this prayer. You don't need to repent, you don't need to change. Just say the prayer and we have another notch in your belt. Interestingly enough, I was on a board and actually got kicked off asking someone who was doing this just how many disciples they have made? How many even come to church the next Sunday? But that is a thinking today. Pray and walk away. It's sad.
     
  4. Zenas

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    This is true but the problem lies in bad training or no training at all. We do everything imaginable to keep our youth entertained but we do very little to teach them about our faith. While we still have them, we need to throw out to them these same challenges that they will hear in college and then provide them with accurate and credible answers. Then when they get to college and hear the drivel of their liberal professors, they can say, "Oh, I've heard that before and here is why your theories are flawed." They might not want to be quite that confrontational but at least they will be thinking it.
     
  5. glfredrick

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    I am of a mind that true conversion can ONLY happen when the Lord reveals Himself to an individual. They, coming face-to-face with Almighty God cannot help but be changed forever. Anything else, including force of human will is pure religion and merely a "decision" of no consequence, for until the Lord saves, there is no salvation.

    How the Almighty might reveal Himself is His business, and it could be in any number of ways -- a number as close to infinite as is the human genome or fingerprints -- as many ways as there are humans to elect to salvation. But, unless God does it, it is nothing.
     
  6. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Brother.....1st thanks for this topic. I consider it very relevant. I personally dont think most know what conversion is really about. I think many young people are indoctrinated into church rather than being educated. As soon as the youth leaves the fold they run (and I mean run) away from it....frankly it must be liberating to break away from anything oppressive. Much of it is getting a good Christian education on the fundamentals (like doctrine) & then allowing for the work of the HS.
     
  7. gb93433

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    Of the 85% I would wonder how many of those who came from churches who are intentionally making disciples as Jesus taught.
     
  8. Jkdbuck76

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    Pretty good since Noah "won" MAYBE 7 souls in 120 years! Srsly. The Christian message is harsh. The real message, that is.

    For a while, in youth group I thought our job was to make the world a better place...how wrong I was. THANK GOD I came back to the faith after college.

    I didn't have a spiritual inkling until a gym owner confronted me about my spiritual status. Then I started listening to Hank Hannegraff for some reason on the way home from work every night. He once said that the eternal HOPE of Christians is salvation and eternal life; not making the world better. Then I married baptist.
     
  9. Tom Bryant

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    Good thread. We need to concentrate on what Jesus concentrated on: making disciples.

    Along that same line, I also think we have failed to teach young people how to think. So when they are hit with ungodly professors they go into brain freeze.
     
  10. Tom Butler

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    I think some people don't do personal witnessing because they lack confidence or simply don't know what to say.

    Soul-winning "methods" such as the Roman Road and Sinner's Prayer may have been designed to alleviate that fear by providing an organized, easily remembered system.

    They are also an outgrowth of the soteriology which assumes that all have a will and an ability to choose or reject Christ. So, anything that can be employed to move someone toward making that choice is acceptable.

    Unfortunately, the Roman Road has been corrupted into a sales pitch, and the Sinner's Prayer into closing the sale. Along with that, the invitation system was developed, complete with walking the aisle, coming to the altar, stirring invitation hymns, and an impassioned exhortation.

    Now, nothing is wrong with any of these things in and of themselves. I believe God hears the earnest prayer of a truly repentant sinner who asks for mercy. I believe the passages in Romans are perfectly good to point men to Christ. I believe it is perfectly appropriate for the preacher to press the claims of Christ on his hearers.

    But as long as new converts are looked upon as notches on the gun or pelts on the belt, we'll continue to have decisions. But as history has shown us, decisions aren't necessarily conversions.
     
  11. glfredrick

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    How is making disciples different from a decision versus a conversion?

    Discipleship presumes conversion, but could it not be the means of counterfeiting authentic conversion?
     
  12. gb93433

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    I suppose if Jesus' disciples could be fooled so can we. I would doubt that if one were truly a disciple of Jesus according to what Jesus taught then one would be much less likely to be fooled. Certainly I have seen the less discerning fooled. Fruit is quite a good measure though.

    Discipleship determines the quality of the disciple much like parenting would determine the quality of an adult. Some take a long time while others seem to have less hindrances and grow much quicker. The aim is to have 100% of them grow into mature believers who disciple others. When I take a look at what Jesus taught about being a disciple and the cost I think we spend way too little time in helping people get there. I cannot imagine a parent being satisfied and feeling that they did their best if their child at age 18 did not know how to do what most adults at age 18 can do unless there were some kind of impairment.

    I see evangelism as much like a woman having a baby and discipleship like parenting to adulthood. Discipleship is coming alongside the person to help them grow to be a mature disciple of Jesus and able to reproduce themselves in the lives of others.
     
  13. glfredrick

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    I'm not debating WHAT discipleship is. I know WHAT it is, and to whom it is applied (all converted persons). What I am asking is how one can know, merely through discipleship, that one is truly converted? You seem to indicate that there is a way of knowing that can be discerned via the discipleship process. I'm asking, how?
     
  14. gb93433

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    1 Cor. 4:20, "For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power."

    It seems to me that what Jesus taught is that you will know them by their fruit. How can one with the fruit of destruction or no fruit be considered a believer? It is not my responsibility to wake up the dead but to tell people what Jesus said and did.

    When I look at the four different kinds of soil it seems to me that the real issue that Jesus taught is not just being a newborn and stopping there but pressing onto maturity.

    Just as Jesus disciples were fooled about Judas so can we. However Judas did finally reveal his real identity.

    I believe that if we are about being all that God wants us to be and lead others in that way, then the false teachers will not want to associate with us. They are about destruction. The only association they will have with us is to seek to destroy what we do and who we are.
     
  15. DiamondLady

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    Scripture says, By their fruits ye shall know them. I believe we can know who by a person's willingness to learn, to grow, to be discipled....by their fruits we shall know them.
     
  16. convicted1

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    Churches are worried more about the #'s than actual converts. My sister was "dunked" at a church at about 19 years of age. Since then, she has married twice, ran the bars with men, etc. etc. etc. The church she was a "member" at, is one of the few churches who have a roll call before their saturday morning business meeting. As of four years ago, her name was called off, and she hadn't been there in probably four or five years before that!! They may have taken her name off the books since then, but her name was on their book, waaaay longer than she was a member there. So, I think its fair game to say that the #'s has a lot to do with the "fall away" from churches.

    Yes they can, unfortunately. Just turn on the TV and see what "hogwash" they use to get someone to say a prayer after me!! YUCK!!! They want you to say ,"Wham, bam, allamazam!! You're SAVED!!" Salvation starts with a Godly sorrow set up in one's life, per 2 Cor. 7:10. If you don't have that before you pray, you will not be saved, period!!

    i am I AM's!!
     
  17. drfuss

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    Convicted1 writes:
    "Salvation starts with a Godly sorrow set up in one's life, per 2 Cor. 7:10. If you don't have that before you pray, you will not be saved, period!!"

    This is a good thread. I did not realize just how far we have drifted. I can't remember when Godly sorrow and repentance were made a significant part of salvation, from the pulpit in my current church. We have an alter call every service. But the emphasis is on turn your life over to Christ, be baptized, and join the work (church).
     
  18. David Lamb

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    That is very sad. If godly sorrow and repentance are not preached, how can sin be preached? And if sin is not preached, how are people to know the vital necessity of trusting the Lord Jesus Christ? No wonder the idea in many people's minds seems to be that becoming a Christian is like joining a sports club or an amateur choir - if you lose interest, you just leave!
     
    #18 David Lamb, May 4, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2011
  19. glfredrick

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    How is asking, begging, etc., one to "make a decision" in an altar call any different from what we are discussing in this thread -- decision vs. conversion. Are you assuming that those who respond with some form of decision during an altar call are truly converted just because it is an altar call -- or more particularly, "your church's" altar call?

    Note that I'm not trying to be an obstructionist here, but I'm seeing people argue against mere decisions, then tell us that people need to make decisions. What is the difference?
     
  20. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Perhaps Im being thick here but I dont see discipleship as you do. I believe what your saying is the pastor takes on the role of teacher & mentor. If thats what your saying, that scares me because your setting up the possibility of a "Pope Pastor" who dictates right & wrong. Feels too much like indoctrination. Can you explain your position a little clearer for me that I might understand? Thanks
     

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